Are you sucked into stepping on the scale as a way to measure your “progress”?
If so, answer me this:
Does it leave you feeling empowered or disempowered when you see it stay the same number - after tons of effort - or even go UP a few pounds?
How does it affect how you feel about yourself? And, more importantly, how do you behave after you know that number?
So, here’s the thing.
The scale will never show you what your body is capable of doing.
That number doesn’t reveal the time you held in plank (& all the good that’s doing for your core muscles & posture & your breathing).
Or the push ups you finally did on your toes (which is an incredible indicator of total body strength)
It certainly doesn’t show you the accomplishment of being able to lift your body weight up to a bar in a pull up.
And if you CAN accomplish any of these things, regardless of how many you can do, why would you allow the number on the scale deflate your awesomeness?
In fact, let it be known that it can be incredibly challenging to put on muscle & strength AND see that number go down.
And that is exactly why today I am showing you 5 ways to improve your pull up strength so you can start focusing on something FUN - on what your body is capable of doing, rather than some arbitrary number on a scale that doesn’t mean JACK.
Note: Pull ups use an overhand grip, as opposed to chin ups, which are easier & use an underhand grip - meaning, more biceps are available to help you out.
I just got a pair of these pull up straps from GripSling so I can not only work on my pull up strength, but also my grip strength. They’re awesome & can’t wait to use them for other stuff too. If you are interested in a pair, get 20% off by entering "realfit20" in the discount code box.
Here are 5 things you can do to help make pull ups more doable:
- Hang out. Hold onto a bar & just hang. This is not only excellent to improve your grip strength, this is also healthy for your shoulder mobility. Play with gripping one at a time vs both together.
- Practice your wall square. A wall square is awesome because it builds shoulder & back strength through isometric work - meaning, you have to hold the contraction in your muscles in order to maintain the position. The goal with this one is to hold your wall square for as long as possible.
To start, you’ll want to back yourself up to a wall with your feet against it, your knees directly under your hips & your hands directly under your shoulders. You’ll take one foot to the wall & press the leg straight while the other leg rises to meet it. Your feet are hip height & your eyes look towards your toes. Press your hands into the floor while you glide your shoulder blades towards your hips, engaging the upper back.
- Do body weight rows. I use a TRX, but I also demonstrate how to perform this between 2 chairs (although this option isn’t as ideal because it limits the range of motion). Performing rows using your own body weight will help you get the feel of lifting your body, as opposed to always using dumbbells to strengthen your back.
- Do assisted pull ups. Again, I am using a TRX for this move, but you can also use long resistance bands by tying them to the bar & stepping in them (like a loop) which will allow your body weight to be countered so it’s easier for you to draw yourself up to the bar. Check out the post Nia Shanks did that gives you more details for this variation with a band.
- Work the negative. Negatives refer to the eccentric phase of an exercise, which is the part that works WITH gravity. In fact, this week our strength workout on RealFit.tv focuses solely on this phase as one of the ways that really helps you build strength. (If you aren’t a member yet, check it out here.) You’ll want to be able to jump up to the top of the pull up for this one so you don’t exhaust yourself in the pull to the top. Once you are there, you will SLOWLY lower to the bottom. In fact, the slower you go, the better. (I move thru it rather quickly in the video because let’s face it, watching me perform a negative is like watching paint dry.)
If you really want to be able to perform a pull up, or increase the number that you can already do, you’ll want to dedicate yourself to these exercises 3 times a week. The frequency & consistency will get you there faster. So, there is nothing wrong with once a week, just understand that it will take you much longer to get there.
So, now I'm wondering...
What would happen if you focused solely on what your body CAN do, rather than what it can’t?
& what if this approach - in doing MORE - was WAY more fun than trying to get that number on the scale to be LESS?
Comment below & share this article with a friend. 🙂
If you are exhausted from the “gotta lose weight, I’m not good enough” conversation that you have over & over in your head, come work with me for 14 days and be part of a community having a different conversation - one about how acceptance is what leads to RealResults in your body & your life. Join for 14 days & receive coaching calls, live stream workouts, a supportive & private group to share and new weekly workouts that add to your fun workout library - ya know, building on the stuff YOU CAN DO! Try it here.